OK, background so this is understandable - Cooking is one of my only hobbies that is not completely money & time wasting, it is a zen thing for me. Because of that I watch a lot of cooking youtube etc. Plus, in the AF, though I was combat focused, my main job fell into a science field, … with that, I watch and think about a lot of eclectic things from different angles
With that, one time I watched a youtube show where a science focused guy had a cook off with a chef (I think French, but might be wrong on that). The chef presented a dish and explained it, then the science guy would cook it a modern science way and he’d season it etc as he thought it should be. At the same time the chef would cook the dish the classic cooking way - he , or one of his assistant cooks, would even give the science guy hints “You know those potatoes are more waxy and good for roasting, but not for the mash potatoes we are making”.
On each dish the science guy made a decent dish, but each time the chef’s dish came out better.
By the end, the science guy even admitted he was missing those little things that make cooking an ART.
With that science may be a part of it, but not all and not enough to justify the ship’s cook being a science guy.
However, I cede the point on baking. I LOVE to cook, but tell me to bake something and it is NOT GOOD, and yes baking is even more a science than cooking, so my argument may be a wash in the long run.
Now for a cook on the ship. my military experience is more ground focused, so I know what would apply if that was the focus. However, any Navy guys around here would have better insight on cooks in the Navy aboard ship.
From my (very limited) Navy history knowledge, I’d say the cook(s) were under the supply or something else from operations - an experienced enlisted type. They may have one or 2 assistance assigned to them (or pulled from the crew if they had the skills and interest needed to be a cook) and then other crew would pull duty doing KP (or the Navy version of KP)
Now for a ship that size. I myself have cooked meals and BBQed for that many to a little more with just the help of my 2 daughters (my wife and I have way different mindsets in the kitchen and putting her in there with me and the girls cooking for that many would go very badly very quickly). Outside of the actual cooking, my wife and others as they showed would take care of putting drinks on ice, putting the plates etc out. SO with that, for a ship that size, you would need a cook, 2 assistants (either assigned to him or rotating as a general crew duty) and a few others each day for KP duties (which are rotating or for those crewmen that got in a little trouble)